Finding hope: Tupelo Salvation Army helps single mom follow her dreams

Shelter provides space for office and homeschool for mom and daughter

TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – The area’s only homeless shelter provides basics such as food and housing for thousands every year. But the Tupelo Salvation Army is also helping a single mom develop and launch a business while living in the shelter.

The Salvation Army is helping a determined mother and her young daughter follow their dreams.

It is just after lunch at the Salvation Army and Mikhala Hubbard is giving her five-year-old daughter Aahanna an art lesson.

Mikhala and Aahanna found out about the Salvation Army’s shelter for families not long after they arrived in town in their white van.

“I came here in my van, call her my white chariot,” Hubbard said.

That van was their home until mom and daughter found a room in the shelter.  Not long after that, Mikhala asked Salvation Army Captain Rob Dolby if there was any room in the Carnation Street Community Center she could use.

“She explained, if there’s a space I could use I want to homeschool my daughter and expand my business, my immediate answer was, I don’t know how we are going to do that, that doesn’t happen in shelters, generally it doesn’t, but we pride ourselves in Tupelo, call it the Tupelo spirit, we work to say yes, rather than no,” said Capt. Dolby.

Now the space serves a dual purpose,  it is a classroom and an office, where Mikhala is developing her business plan and building her business.  It is called MiHanna’s Holistic Healing.  She specializes in natural remedies, and herbal teas, promoting healthy lifestyles.

She is also working on a series of beauty and lifestyle products, such as body butter, lip balm, and hair care products.  She is inspired by stories of her great-great grandmother Ida Mae, who lived in the Delta and is said to have used similar products and remedies for her family.

Captain Dolby is helping Mikhala with business development, marketing and even searching for investors.

“We always love the end of the story, when you think about the famous author, who before they were famous they lived in their car, we love the end of the story, sometimes the beginning and middle are the hard parts, so who are we as the Salvation Army as a faith community, if we’re not only willing to celebrate the end of the story but be with people in the beginning and middle, to get to the end,” Dolby said.

Aahanna and Mikhala have found not only shelter, food, and a new start at the Salvation Army, but they have also found true friends, who are helping turn dreams into reality.

“Being here in the Salvation Army, I might be homeless, but I like to think that I’m more part of a community and this community has allowed barriers to be broken down.  I want other people when they hear my story to know, nothing is impossible, but to have the mindset and energy to keep going, that’s the perfect place to start,” Hubbard said.

Captain Dolby says helping Mikhala launch her own business goes to the core of what the Salvation Army is all about and he says they will be with her every step of the way.

The Salvation Army is going to help Mikhala place her beauty products in local churches as a way to get them out to the public.

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